TribLIVE

| Home

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Upgrades to Immaculate Conception's cemetery almost complete

Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - The tombstone of Jennie Hefferle (1911-1925) in the children's section of Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Irwin on Nov. 16, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>The tombstone of Jennie Hefferle (1911-1925) in the children's section of Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Irwin on Nov. 16, 2012.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - A memorial obelisk, dedicated in 2011, in the children's section of Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Irwin on Nov. 16, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>A memorial obelisk, dedicated in 2011, in the children's section of Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Irwin on Nov. 16, 2012.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 11:26 p.m.
 

Upgrades to Immaculate Conception's cemetery are almost complete, as the Irwin parish celebrates 150 years.

The cemetery, which dates back to 1873, covers 15 acres next to Union Cemetery, about a mile from the parish's Second Street location. Updates include adding space for 500 more cemetery plots and improving the children's burial section with an obelisk in their memory.

About 9,500 people are buried in the cemetery, including about 440 in the children's section, some dating back to 1885.

Many of those children perished during the early-1900s influenza pandemic, said the Rev. John Moineau, the parish's pastor for the past seven years.

“When the flu hit, children were the biggest hit,” Moineau said. “The fathers had to basically dig the graves and bury their own kids.”

It's difficult to tell exactly how many children died of the flu because records don't always list a cause of death, said Jerry Kunkle of Irwin, who serves as cemetery director.

Many children were buried there without grave markers, Moineau said, and other concrete markers disintegrated over the years.

Some records for the children list descriptions like “two year old” as the only identifying information. Graves went unmarked because maybe the family could not afford a marker or perhaps did not want to mark the site, Moineau said.

“We decided to erect an obelisk in memory of the children,” Moineau said. “This obelisk would be a marker to remind us of the section and the children.”

Crumbling concrete crosses were removed, and the engraved gray obelisk is complete, surrounded by a walled, concrete patio and shrubbery.

A sidewalk and small parking lot are in the works.

The renovation not only respects the children interred there, “but the whole sacred ground,” Moineau said.

Kunkle has worked to remap the cemetery, Moineau said.

In days past, Moineau said, the stone marker served as a record, not necessarily anything written.

About 2,300 families belong to Immaculate Conception Parish.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. McCutchen, Pirates cruise past Twins
  2. Beaver County widow won’t lose home over $6.30 late fee
  3. Steelers unfazed by Brady suspension saga
  4. Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
  5. Housing Authority to treat Brookline senior complex for bedbugs
  6. Judge adds 2 years to sentence of Baldwin Borough man acquitted of murder
  7. Gibsonia’s Saad shows off Stanley Cup at 911th Airlift Wing
  8. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  9. Plum High School teacher held for court on charges of intimidation
  10. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
  11. Sewickley Twp. man who received food stamps didn’t disclose gas royalties